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Although he has ridden just one single-day race since quitting the Tour de France as it came out of the Alps two months ago, Spaniard Alejandro Valverde has affirmed that he has no worries about his form and making himself available for his national team at the Worlds next week.
Speaking to Marca, Valverde said that it was "obvious I would not be going if I was going to make an idiot of myself". The Illes Balears rider admitted that he is still having some problems with tendonitis in his right knee, the injury which forced him out of the Tour, but said treatment with an ice pack has basically cured the problem. "If I was having the same pain as at the Tour de France it's certain that I would not be riding the Worlds," he stated.
He explained that he decided against taking part in the Tour of Poland, as had previously been expected, "because the bad weather might have made the injury flare up again. It was an unnecessary risk. By staying at home I could train hard and I sincerely believe that that decision has paid off. [Oscar] Freire has won a world title with hardly any competition, just by training at home."
Valverde showed short shrift with rumours circulating at the Vuelta that he is not riding because he has been sanctioned by the UCI. "I don't know where that's come from," he said. "It makes me sick to hear those kind of things. How is it then that I rode the Vuelta a los Puertos? The only way that I can disprove those rumours is by racing, not only the Worlds but also the Classics of Zurich, Paris-Tours and Lombardy. I feel very optimistic, I've never trained so much or so hard."
Valverde said he has been doing rides of 210km lasting more than six hours every other day, with a day off or a day working behind a motorbike in between. "In tests my form is similar to the Tour and for that reason I told [Spanish selector] Paco [Antequera] he could count on me."
Valverde admitted that the circuit in Madrid did not really suit his style, but felt that the strong Spanish team would still have an impact. "I think that I am going to do well," he concluded.
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